Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shatabdi vs Air Asia

Recently I got to travel from Chennai to Bangalore by the Shatabdi express and as the train moved north-westwards, I was able to see the sun set behind the sunflower fields from the large, clean window. They gave us a nice meal and the seats were plush and comfortable. The TV showed episodes from ‘Just for Laughs’ and a Charlie Chaplin movie – things that don’t need one to listen or understand the local language. Why this was very clever was highlighted on that day especially because everyone else on the coach was from South Korea. The guy sitting next to me was quite expressive about his holiday in Bangalore and Chennai. And I mentioned Gangnam style to him when he said he was from South Korea, much to his annoyance.

And then I travelled from Bangalore to Bali via Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia. I couldn’t help but compare the experience of the Shatabdi vs Air Asia. The frustration started even before we could collect our boarding passes. We had to pay extra for checking in our baggage. And that was the first time I was hearing that shit in an International flight. In the Shatabdi, there was no limit on how much baggage you could carry. You could even do the entire shifting of your house from Chennai to Bangalore J

The biggest issue of all was when we were flying – we were given the last row in the plane and as if being forced to hear the airhostess’ gossip wasn’t enough, we had to pay exorbitant amounts of money to get meals, the only positive thing about which was the fact that it was hot. It was then I started understanding how difficult the rest of my trip was going to be because there was only one vegetarian meal available. Dammit… The Shatabdi was so much better in terms of food. At least they didn’t charge me as much as Air Asia and didn’t brag about their “flight merchandise” in books and journals.

I mean, seriously, why the fuck would I shell out my hard-earned money to buy t-shirts and watches with “Air Asia” printed on it and advertise for this shitty shitty airline? If anything, they should give the shirts to me and pay me (quite a huge amount) to wear it. Bah :-\

It was the worst four and a half hours I had spent on a flight and I just wanted to pull my hair out and scream like a mad woman or at least yell the choicest of swear words (I could do that in 4 languages) at the flight attendants to let off the pent up frustrations. I want to ask questions like why don’t you play something on the TV? Why don’t you include the cost of food in the ticket price itself? After making us pay so much money, why do you charge us extra for check-in baggage handling?

If you are a major airline in South East Asia, how does it feel having your facilities being compared to that of a premium train in India?